More and more people are making Rangers title verdicts, but it’s important the club avoid take a step back to avoid complacency.
Look, we all get a bit ahead of ourselves in football sometimes. This season it does seem to be happening a good bit more than normal, least of all because we all have infinitely more time to sit down and overthink things. Just look at the English Prem, all it takes is one win from Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City or Spurs and suddenly they are the new hot favourites. The top four are all pretty good, who knew?
Here in Scotland it’s a bit more straightforward, aye. We’ve got Rangers up at the top where we belong and, wait, where did second place go? Oh there it is, you just have to drop 21 points or 7 (7!) wins and you’ll see them. The oul enemy, the Covidiots themselves, Celtic. It’s all a bit black and white, isn’t it?
A foregone conclusion they all it, the League all but wrapped up and heading to Ibrox, in much the dominant fashion it went to Celtic Park in years past. I’ve seen Hoops fans making such proclamations on social media for months, though it’s become almost widespread in the last few weeks from pundits, to players, to even Blues clearly unafraid to tempt fate.
Only today we had Liverpool left back, Scotland skipper, and suffering Celtic fan Andy Robertson take time to get his excuses in – under the guise of praising Pool legend Steven Gerrard. As quoted by the Daily Express;
"“Well it’s done isn’t it – it’s in the bag (the league title). No pressure, just wrap it up now.Obviously it’s a difficult situation coming into Liverpool training ground where everyone loves Stevie and wants him to do well.I want him to do well, but I’m a Celtic fan and I’ve been brought up not to like Rangers!”"
Yuck. But really Robertson isn’t saying anything much more than is being said all round. Rangers, for better or worse, have taken a step beyond being favourites for the title. We are the Joe Biden of Scottish football, waiting for the crown to pass over from the animals who used and abused it prior.
There’s some truth to that, of course, but let’s take a step back here. Bears, particularly, should be cautious with bragging and joining in the premature celebrations. Haven’t we been burned enough times before by complacency? When will we learn the lesson?
Of course, it would take a meltdown of historic levels to throw it away now. Statistically, Rangers are so unbelievably dominant that it’s mind blowing. 23 games played, 21 wins, 2 draws, 0 losses, that’s mighty impressive but dig a little deeper and make sure you’re sitting down. Our goal difference is a ridiculous +53, made even more insane by a Goals Against of 6. Not 7, 6. We’ve conceded 6 goals in 23 games, that’s absolutely nuts for this Rangers team. 6 leaked in a game under Caixinha wouldn’t have surprised.
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Every single statistic that matters, be it average possession, shots attempted, shots on goal, pass accuracy, expected goals, everything, it’s all pointing in one way – Rangers are winning their 55th League title in romping fashion. On top of that, there’s that mythical “form of champions” where you can see the Gers are getting, somehow, all three points from games where one or none could easily have happened based on performance.
Nonetheless, I’m going to stand here and be a bit of Negative Nancy. It’s too early to brag, lads. Laugh at Celtic, sure, it’s never too early for that. But talk of titles, or success in Europe for that matter, is something I feel we should reserve till the fat lady sings. It’s not karma, not entirely at least, but there’s a lot of football and a few tough tests yet to come.
Late season implosions have happened, all too painfully, under Gerrard as well. Sure, we’re a much better team and Celtic are much worse, but it’s a memory that should hold the most ardent Bear steady until James Tavernier is lifting the title, er, assuming that happens of course. Motherwell away is the next step and will be all Stevie G, and the players I’m sure, will be focused on. Let’s follow their lead by taking it one step at a time. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want this season to end so soon anyway.